Team up... Speak up for Patient Safety
Tawam Hospital, in affiliation with Johns Hopkins Medicine, held its second annual patient safety awareness campaign entitled 'Team up... Speak up for Patient Safety'. The campaign was sanctioned by the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF), a U.S.-based not-for-profit organization that conducts annual Patient Safety Awareness Week every year and encourages hospitals to promote patient safety.
The development and implementation of patient safety programs is fairly new to this region. For example, open reporting of medical errors is not generally practiced by many health care professionals in the Middle East.
"Tawam Hospital is a pioneer in implementing a culture of patient safety. This is a way of building on and spreading the excellent work of the ongoing patient safety initiatives. It is only through the coordinated joint efforts between hospital leadership and staff that real improvement occurs, creating the cultural change we all seek," said Ahlam Al Sheiban, Director of Performance Innovation Department.
Since 2008, four patient safety officers and one medication safety officer have been empowered at the hospital. This team has been working with the Johns Hopkins Center for Innovation in Quality Patient Care. This collaboration resulted in the development of Tawam Hospital's patient safety strategic plan, which called for staff members to be trained to improve patient safety. It called on them to encourage patients and their family members to be partners in Tawam's patient safety movement.
Tawam conducted its inaugural patient safety awareness campaign in 2009 and introduced Patient Safety Net (PSN), an online incident reporting system developed by the University Health Consortium, last year.
"In the process of translating patient safety across cultures, we faced many of the same barriers to patient safety that are present in hospitals elsewhere. Some of them are hierarchies between providers, a culture that is not accustomed to acknowledging medical errors, and the tendency for poor communication and teamwork. Although Tawam Hospital has a unique set of challenges, we firmly believe that there is no substitute to constant learning from defects, and a cultural change is both evolutionary and revolutionary," added Steven Matarelli, Chief Operating Officer, Tawam Hospital.
With the attempt of engaging the community as partners in patient safety, the patient safety team visited Fatima College of Health Sciences in Al Ain to spread the message of 'Team up... Speak up for Patient Safety'. The team shared Tawam Hospital's patient safety experience with the students and academic staff, eliciting interesting and informative discussions. The session concluded with the display of the Arabic version of the patient safety video.
In 2009 Tawam Hospital implemented the Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program (CUSP) as a pilot project in three of their units: Intensive Care Unit, Neonatology Unit and the Pediatric Oncology. The main goal of CUSP is to establish a culture of safety at the hospital. CUSP, which was initiated at Johns Hopkins, is an approach that has elevated patient safety cultures across clinical units at many facilities outside the United States.
CUSP creates a culture that targets system failures and not individual faults, introducing a six-step patient safety program that focuses on surgical site infection, ventilator associated pneumonia, length of stay, blood stream infection, wrong site surgeries, and other important initiative.
In order to encourage and promote the culture of safety amongst the hospital's staff, Tawam instituted a Best Catch Award, which encourages team members to openly report errors without fear.
"To celebrate patient safety for the second consecutive year we presented the Best Catch Award, Hand Hygiene Award, and Patient Safety Poster Award," said Ahlam.
Tawam Hospital is part of the SEHA HealthSystem and is owned and operated by Abu Dhabi Health Services Company PJSC (SEHA) which is responsible for the curative activities of all the public hospitals and clinics in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The hospital is managed by Johns Hopkins Medicine International.
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